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joyd 2003-11-11 04:11

New user -- two songs for your critique!

This is my first post to the message board. I've had Reason for a little while, but I've only been able to start experimenting with it recently. My first songs were a four-part series that I created for a film my sister was working on, and I guess they turned out okay. I've completed two more songs in the last month, and these are the ones I am hoping for constructive criticism on, or suggestions for improvement.

In my eyes, my weakest point is mixing/mastering -- I have no idea how to do it! So, all my songs are pretty flat sounding. I would love some ideas on how to make them sound better in that area, but ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

There are two songs for download at the following link, and they are listed under the names of 'candance' and 'She Makes Me Happy.'

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to listen to them! :)
Joy's Music

Indio 2003-11-11 08:29

Re: New user -- two songs for your critique!
"She Makes Me Happy" is quite... interesting. I find it soothing and the title fits, but that lead does get a little irritating when it hits it's extremely high notes. As for it sounding flat, it's not too bad, not as bad as the worst I've heard. I'd say playing around with the mixer's unit equilizers will solve the minor balance issues you might be having. This is different than most stuff I've heard from Reason artists, just goes to show that this program really has a million possibilities. I like it, maybe tone down that lead, it does get a little too high.

I was a little disturbed by the loudness of that drum transition at around 1:45, it's too loud compared to the rest of the song.

Are you using the redrum's programmable sequencer? Try manually inserting the notes via pencil, you'll soon find it much more flexible and even easier than to use the sequencer on the Redrum machine.

Out of the two, I like "She Makes me Feel Happy", it has a nice positive vibe, "Candance" is likable, but it doesn't really take me anywhere. But that's just my 2 cents, hope that helped in some way.

joyd 2003-11-11 08:43

Re: New user -- two songs for your critique!
First of all, thanks for listening to them. It's nice to have an objective ear. :)

I totally agree about the high lead -- I can't even listen to it on my headphones, it is quite painful. Whoops.

I was using the sequencer on the Redrum, but now I'll have to try out the pencil thing. There are lots of features I still haven't figured out in Reason -- I guess I have a lot to learn! I'll definitely work on the dynamics of the drum change and the lead.

Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I do have one question though -- how would you say my music is different? I haven't really heard any other stuff by Reason users so I guess I have a hard time trying to classify my own music. Thanks again!

- Joy

Indio 2003-11-11 08:55

Re: New user -- two songs for your critique!
Different just that, I've been listening to music made from artists using Reason since Reason 1.0, and I havn't heard stuff like this.. well I can't say never but I don't hear too much of it. It's a compliment if anything.

joyd 2003-11-11 08:58

Re: New user -- two songs for your critique!
Alright then. Well thank you :)

Stompp 2003-11-11 22:21

Re: New user -- two songs for your critique!
Hi, welcome to the boards, good to have another artist!

I'm not great at mastering, but I can offer some suggestions. First off- Reason isn't (at least not in its present version) ideal for mastering. You can attempt it, but it's a hell of a lot easier to master using external programs. I use Wave Lab 4, which has VST compatibility- and I use in particular a great multi-band compressor VST for good results. N.B- any of my work in the song archives is there in unmastered form, and isn't exactly how my final work sounds. Also, if you're going to try to master your tracks you need a good set of spekers/pro monitors. I don't have the most ideal myself, so my mastering work suffers a little, but I use reference tracks to get a rough idea of what kind of levels to use.

Hope some of that helps.

Right, the tracks.

"She Makes Me Happy".

The opening sounds a little flat, so I'd bring up the high frequencies to give it more of a punch there. It has to be said though, that is some beautiful guitar work, and the bass fits in just right with it. The first synth that kicks in is well placed in the mix, but I'd love to see a little delay applied to it, just to help it flow a little more naturally. The vibraphone kicks in at the right time, and the drum beat develops well. It's great the way the track builds up gradually- the arrangement work there is fantastic. Variation kicks in with the removal of some parts- good move- but unfortunately the removal of some of the backing synths makes the lead work feel a little dull- I'd work on improving those leads so that they can stand out in the mix on their own.


Again, I'd bring out the high frequencies to make it shine. Try putting the entire mix through and EQ, and gently lifting the low and high freguencies to give the mix a little more separation and to give it a touch more clarity. The drums sound a little too mono- maybe you could feed them through a unison, or if that weakens the sound try panning some of the samples left and right a little to give it a more stereo sound? Personally I'd say "candance" is not quite as well developed and structured as "She Makes Me Happy", but especially considering you said you were relatively new to Reason they're both good tracks.

I picked out the best example of one of my mastered mp3s, and there's a link to it below. There's an rps around here, but the mp3 is much sharper in tone because of the mastering work. The link below should stream it (bear in mind that any slight distortion is due to the mp3 encoding and isn't present in the wave file).

Keep it up! Look forward to more from you. :)

Phenomenon-mastered mp3.

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